Ensuring our nation's ships are Semper Paratus
YOKOTA AIR BASE, Japan -- Yokota Air Base hosts many tenant units with members from across all branches of the U.S. military. Each of the services brings unique capabilities to Pacific Command's mission of promoting positive international relationships and global security. In the Indo-Asia Pacific Region, the U.S. Coast Guard is represented by the Coast Guard Activities Far East (FEACT), a team of highly-trained inspectors and investigators, located at YAB and the Naval Regional Contracting Center in Singapore.
FEACT's core functions in the region are multifaceted, and are designed to support the Coast Guards Maritime Safety and Maritime Security missions with the overarching goal to ensure an uninterrupted Marine Transportation System between the US and its trading partners in the Indo-Asia-Pacific Region.
"We go to various countries all over the Far East, working with local leaders to improve safety measures at ports so our ships can operate in a safer environment," said Lt. Peter Raneri, FEACT assistant chief of inspection. "The inspections we perform on U.S. flagged ships ensure that safety and security extends across our merchant fleet."
More than 100 inspections are performed yearly by the small, mobile unit on all U.S. vessels in the region at many locations including Japan, Korea, China, Singapore and the Philippines.
As a small unit covering a large area of responsibility, the Coastguardsmen assigned to Yokota Air Base often work long hours with schedules determined by the availability and location of the ships they inspect. To meet expanding maritime industry needs members often perform back-to-back remote location inspections which at times results in lost weekends and holidays spent away from loved ones. According to Chief Warrant Officer Robert Moseley, FEACT marine inspector, at certain times of the year the Coast Guardsmen assigned to Yokota spend more time in transit and at international ports than they do on-base.
"Despite the long hours spent away from home, our work provides a strong sense of satisfaction; the inspections we perform promote marine safety and help to save lives," Moseley said.
In addition to inspecting ships from the merchant fleet they also check vessels contracted to the Navy Military Sealift Command. Certain commercial shipping vessels that have a military useful purpose receive a government stipend to be on charter to transport military cargos, such as vehicles or logistical supplies. These Maritime Security Program ships and their land-based infrastructure provide a cost-effective program that guarantees military access during contingency operations.
"All of our regulations, international and domestic, are in some way written in blood through various accidents and tragedies," Raneri said. "Over the years, these regulations have been written, updated and are constantly changing to ensure protection of vessels, environment and most importantly the people."